Revolution Lullabye

July 6, 2009

Gilmore, Plagiarism

Gilmore, Barry. Plagiarism: Why It Happens, How to Prevent It. Portsmouth, Heinemann, 2008.

Gilmore, a high school English and social studies teacher writing to other high school and middle school teachers, argues that plagiarism is best prevented by turning to education and prevention: teaching students how to avoid plagiarism and changing school culture to dissuade students from plagiarizing. His book contains many “Top 10” charts for teachers to turn to, such as a top 10 signs a student text is plagiarized, reasons why students plagiarize, and reasons why teachers don’t address plagiarism. Gimore argues that the tools teachers need to teach students in order to prevent plagiarism from happening include teaching them how and why to cite, how to take notes, and how to search on the internet. He does not advocate making every assignment a highly personal “plagiarism-proof assignment,” arguing that those types of assignments don’t always address a teacher’s pedagogical goals. Instead, he suggests spending a large amount of time on the writing process. He also believes that schools should model behavior that prevents plagiarism: having known, followed honor codes, encouraging intellectual risk taking and revision, and expecting good things out fo boys, athletes, and traditionally underachiveing students.

Quotable Quotes

“The culture of learning…is the key to combating plagiarism, whether it happens as a mistake or a crime” (138).

“What you can do to prevent plagiarism is teach the right skills, design the right assignments, and create the right atmosphere. Neglect these areas, and you resign yourself to either ignoring plagiarism or to spending your time angrily rooting out and punishing offenders” (74).

“Once a teacher is reduced to the role of source dectector, he has already lost an educational battle” (5).

Notable Notes

don’t focus on catching students and criminalizing them – but not addressing what’s really the problem with researched assignments – the work involved in using sources

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